Currently proposed mobile satellite communications systems require a high degree of flexibility in assignment of spectral capacity to different geographic locations. Conventionally this results in poor spectral efficiency which may be overcome by the use of bandwidth switchable filtering. Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology makes it possible to provide banks of filters whose responses may be contiguously combined to form variable bandwidth filters with constant amplitude and phase responses across the entire band. The high selectivity possible with SAW filters, combined with the variable bandwidth capability, makes it possible to achieve spectral efficiencies over the allocated bandwidths of greater than 90 percent, while retaining full system flexibility. Bandwidth switchable SAW filtering (BSSF) achieves these gains with a negligible increase in hardware complexity.